HS2

14.01.19

HS2 could run fewer and slower trains to keep within budget and schedule, warns chief executive

HS2 could be forced to run fewer trains and at slower speeds in order to keep the high-speed rail project within its £56m budget, its chief executive has said.

The flagship project will establish a high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham by 2026 followed by Phase 2b extending to Crewe, Manchester, and Leeds, using trains designed to operate at up the 225mph.

But at a meeting with MPs, HS2’s chief executive Mark Thurston said that train speeds could be reduced and the number of services running cut in a bid to reduce cost and keep the project within its budget.

The project has been heavily scrutinised with price estimates given to MPs reportedly hundreds of millions undervalued and fears that costs are spiralling out of control, following in the footsteps of Crossrail.

It has now emerged that Andrea Leadsom, the leader of Commons, previously questioned the “viability” of the project at a meeting of the All-Parliamentary Rail Group in November – resulting in HS2 considering a number of cost-cutting measures.

Details of the meeting were revealed in a letter from Leadsom to Thurston, stating that she was aware he had conceded that a “number of changes to the project may have to be considered in order to keep it within budget and on time.”

It is reported that changes would see train services reduced by 18 to 14 per hour, which would see the capacity reduced by the equivalent of 8,800 passengers during peak times, and possibly lowering train speeds by 30mph.

Leadsom said: “My constituents are naturally concerned that changes to the project could undermine the business case, negatively affect the benefit-cost ratio, and reduce the value for taxpayers’ money.”

Leadsom wanted assurances that the project would be delivered on time and on budget, and added that possible changes could have a substantial impact on the business case for the project which was agreed by MPs.

Thurston then responded to Leadsom, stating it was HS2’s intention to deliver the project on time and within budget but that she was correct in referring to a number of options available which include reducing the speeds of HS2 trains and the number in service.

He wrote: “However, I was also clear that HS2 Ltd is working to the scope and budget of the project which the government has set, and for which detailed debate in parliament has taken place.”

He added that if at some point the project is forced to consider these options, then more detailed work on the effect of such changes would take place.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

TfW reveal new long-distance Class 175 trains

16/07/2019TfW reveal new long-distance Class 175 trains

Transport for Wales (TfW) has revealed their new fleet of Class 175 trains as part of a major investment in Transport for Wales' long-distance tr... more >
60 new jobs at TfW Rail Services announced

16/07/201960 new jobs at TfW Rail Services announced

60 new jobs at Transport for Wales (TfW) have been announced as part of the rail body’s £5bn investment programme in the country. ... more >
Keith Williams on the Rail Review: an update on progress

16/07/2019Keith Williams on the Rail Review: an update on progress

Keith Williams, independent Chair of the Rail Review, provided an update at a Northern Powerhouse Partnership event in Bradford today.  ... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

05/06/2019Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

In a series of Q&A’s with key speakers on the run up to TransCityRail Midlands, we caught up with TransCityRail panellist and Amey’s commercial account director, Anna Delvecchio, for her insight into what the Rail Sector Deal means for the rail industry and its supply chain. Anna started her career as an apprentice at the age o... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >
Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

02/07/2019Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

Smart electrification is the way to boost clean energy resources, argues Leo Murray, director at 10:10 Climate Action. Contractors are clear... more >
Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

02/07/2019Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

The TCR Midlands conference is only days away and tickets are going fast for the sector event of the year at the Vox Conference Centre in Birming... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

By Ewan Quayle, Rail Technology Magazine Reporter Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on R... more >